The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 44: 479 - 484 (2000)

Vol 44, Issue 5

Expression of the cardiac actin gene in axolotl embryos

Published: 1 August 2000

T Masi, M Drum, L Hall, R Dahnarajan and A D Johnson

Dept. of Biological Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee 32306, USA.


Axolotis are an important model system for studying heart development. Patterning of the somitic mesoderm occurs in axolotis in a manner that is much more similar to the pattern observed in higher vertebrates than in Xenopus. For these reasons we cloned the axolotl cardiac actin gene, since this gene is expressed during the development of both somitic and cardiac muscle in other vertebrates. In this paper we characterize its expression. Expression of cardiac actin RNA is switched on during gastrula stages and appears in the somitic mesoderm when it is formed; expression is later activated in the embryonic heart. In adults the gene is expressed only in the heart. The results demonstrate that the clone encoding cardiac actin provides a useful marker for studying development of both skeletal and cardiac muscle development in axolotls.

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